Christina Olson is the author of Terminal Human Velocity and The Last Mastodon, which won the Rattle 2019 Chapbook Contest. Other work appears in the Atlantic, the Missouri Review, the Nation, Scientific American, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Best Creative Nonfiction. She is an associate professor at Georgia Southern University and tweets about coneys and mastodons as @olsonquest. Her website is www.thedrevlow-olsonshow.com.
The Anxiety Workbook explores contemporary anxiety, grief in its multitude of forms, and complicated familial dynamics via the lens of science and history while utilizing the language of therapy. These poems grapple with the ever-evolving collective and individual trauma of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as seek answers and lessons from the natural world. The termination of a pregnancy, a distant father, the untimely death of a friend, our society’s obsession with Dateline and missing white girls, the estivation of the West African lungfish—The Anxiety Workbook covers these topics and much more in poems ranging from the hypernarrative to the highly lyrical, rich in voice and description.
EXCERPT FROM “WHAT I LEARNED FROM THE WISTERIA”
The purple of early bruise. The slow
strangle of climb toward chimney or sky,
something we humans cannot
or will not see. The grape-clusters of bloom
don’t last long, though of course
you should expect this, the root
right in the name: wistful. Now flowers
shower down like your grief: violet and sudden.